Atomic structure and radioactivity video lessons to buy

The series contains video tutorials on atomic structure, radioactivity fission and fusion, as you can see below. At the bottom of the page is an example video from the series on nuclear fission.

Atomic Structure

Fundamental particles 9 minutes (In GCSE, 14 to 16 years, collection also suitable for A level introduction)

In three parts:

  • An overview of the history of the development of atomic structure from the Greeks, the Plum Pudding model, Rutherford's atom, the existence of quarks and leptons.
  • There is then a brief summary of the gold leaf experiment (amplified in the video below).
  • The next section is deals with atomic structure of elements in terms of neutrons, protons and electrons explaining atomic number/proton number, atomic mass/nucleon number and isotopes in detail.

Rutherford's Gold leaf experiment   5 minutes   (In GCSE, 14 to 16 years, collection also suitable for A level introduction)

Follows through the development of our current understanding of atomic structure from the plum pudding model, the design of the gold leaf experiment, the results and the reasoning behind derivation of the conclusions about structure from those results.


Bosons and Fermions  5 mins

This video tutorial sets out to explain that all fundamental particles are either bosons or fermions, defining the difference between them, with examples. Also showing that some composite particles such as hadrons and atoms can also be classified as bosons or fermions.


Hadrons, Quarks and Leptons  8 mins

An explanation of the range of particles in the families of quarks and leptons and an introduction to the way quarks exist together to make up other particles such as hadrons.

Feynman diagrams - an introduction  5 mins

The famous American physicist Richard Feynman set out a graphical system to represent and to better understand nuclear reactions. This lessons sets out to explain the basics of Feynman's representation of the interaction between sub-atomic particles. The video looks at the interpretation of the diagrams using some common examples.


Properties of Alpha, Gamma and Beta radiation 5 Mins   (In GCSE, 14 to 16 years, collection also suitable for A level introduction)

Illustrating and explaining the range and penetrative power of each type of radiation and the effect of a magnetic field. Connecting the nature of the particles to these properties.


Radioactive decay, half life, the decay constant and carbon dating.        15 minutes   (Most of this is in the GCSE, 14 to 16 years, collection also suitable for A level introduction)

  • The reasons for radioactive decay and the nature of alpha beta and gamma decay.
  • The random nature of decay and the factors which cause there to be an exponential relationship between activity and time.
  • The decay constant and the mathematical relationship to the half life.
  • The definition of and practical measurement of half-life through a decay simulation, plotting a graph of the remaining activity against time and measuring the half life from the graph.
  • The mathematics of radioactive decay - the relationship between activity and time.
  • The mechanism of production of carbon 14 in the atmosphere and why that can be used as a dating tool.
  • A mathematical explanation of carbon dating with a worked example

Decay, stability, binding energy, fission and fusion  9 minutes

  • Describing the nature of alpha, beta and gamma decay and the major factors of stability including size, binding energy and proton neutron balance.
  • Decay equations are used to explain what affect alpha, beta minus and beta plus decay has on the atom and the nature of the particles emitted.
  • Binding energy is explained and defined to show why some atoms are radioactive, why some will undergo fission or fusion and why some are stable.

Fission and Fusion

 Nuclear Fission - splitting the atom for beginners   8.75 minutes  (In GCSE, 14 to 16 years, collection also suitable for A level introduction)
Nuclear Fission is the splitting of the nucleus of an atom into two or more parts by hitting it with a small particle, almost always a neutron (a proton would be repelled from the positive nucleus and an electron would have too little energy), this video explains how nuclear fission works and how some of the binding energy of an large atom is converted into heat.
Using uranium 235 as the example going on to show how a chain reaction can lead to the production of a huge amount of energy, a process with commercial and military applications.

Setting out to explain our current understanding of fundamental particles, including:

  • The structure and properties of hadrons
  • The properties of quarks
  • The properties of leptons
  • The existence and of antimatter
  • Beta plus and beta minus radiation in terms of the change in the nature of the quarks and the leptons emitted.


Nuclear Fusion 8 minutes

Explaining the difference between fusion and fission and why both are possible in terms of the binding energy. Moving on to show why very high temperatures and pressures are essential to overcome the electromagnetic repulsion between small nuclei and the common sequence of fusion reactions in the Sun converting hydrogen to helium. The video finishes with a brief summary of the two major nuclear fusion projects aiming to harness the process for power production.


Go back to index   

To buy this video lesson collection click here

Video example - Nuclear fission